Claire Smith Last Updated On: August 18, 2023

What You Should Know About Washington Car Insurance

Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State thanks to its abundant and lush green forests. But we’re also calling it that because your wallet will also be evergreen thanks to our guide to saving on Washington car insurance.

We’re not kidding. You might not have a choice when it comes to car insurance, but you do have a say in how much you save. Keep reading for everything you need to know about getting car insurance in Washington, including how to save on car insurance without skimping on coverage.

Let’s get started.

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Table of Contents

Washington Car Insurance Laws

Before we dive into your options for car insurance, it helps to know what you need to have—before deciding what you want to have. In Washington (and most states), there are minimum car insurance requirements. This means that before you get behind the wheel, you need to have a certain level of car insurance, or you can face hefty consequences.

These are the minimum car insurance requirements in Washington:

  • Bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage of $10,000 per accident 

This is pretty standard across states. What it means is that if you cause an accident that results in bodily harm or property damage for others, you have enough insurance to pony up and pay for it.

Keep in mind, this is only the bare minimum. It’s always recommended that you have more insurance in place, especially because these minimums don’t offer any protection to you or your vehicle.

Next, we’ll show you optional coverage so that you know what’s available to you.

Washington Auto Insurance Coverage Options

It never hurts to explore your options for car insurance, and it also doesn’t hurt to quickly run through the basics again. This way, you’ll beef up your understanding of car insurance and help you make an informed choice.

Here’s a brief review of the main options for car insurance coverage in Washington:

  • Bodily Injury: This one is important to know, since it’s required coverage. Bodily injury helps cover the medical bills of the other driver in an accident you cause. It also gives you a legal defense if you’re sued as a result of the accident.
  • Property Damage: Also required coverage, this helps cover damage caused by the accident, such as the other driver’s vehicle.
  • Collision: This helps cover the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle if you collide with another. 
  • Comprehensive: This helps cover the repair or replacement costs of your vehicle from things like weather, theft, vandalism, or hitting an animal.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: If you’re involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have car insurance or doesn’t have enough for the damage caused, this helps cover the gap.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay): This helps cover the medical costs of you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. 
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Similar to MedPay, PIP helps with the medical costs of you and your passengers after an accident, but also with other costs that arise from an accident, such as lost wages or childcare.
    • People usually choose MedPay or PIP coverage, but not both.

These are the main coverage types that you would choose from to build out your car insurance policy. You can pick and choose what you want, and leave what you don’t, as long as you’re satisfying the minimum requirements in Washington (bodily injury and property damage).

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Optional Insurance Add Ons in Washington

But the list doesn’t end there. For those who want a little more protection, you can add riders or endorsements to your policy. These are optional add ons and serve to boost your coverage. 

The riders that are available to you depend on the insurer, but common examples include:

  • Roadside Assistance: This is a popular one, because it means that if you break down by the side of the road (your car, not your emotions!), you get a tow to a nearby repair shop plus minor roadside fixes.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is being repaired, this helps cover a rental car in the meantime. 
  • Gap: If your leased vehicle is totalled and the insurance check for the depreciated value is less than what you still owe on the car, this helps cover the gap.
  • Rideshare: If you drive for services like Lyft or Uber, this gives you the added protection you and your passengers need. 
  • New Car Replacement: If your new vehicle (less than two years old) gets totalled, this gets you a brand new car instead of a check for the depreciated value. It’s like the accident never happened!

Again, these are completely optional and should only be added if they give you peace of mind and fit into your budget. Options vary by insurance provider, so you may have even more to choose from depending on who you’re with.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Washington Per Month?

Now that we’ve gone through required and optional coverage, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the car: cost. We know that most people would load up on car insurance coverage if cost was no factor, but unfortunately it is. 

Car insurance certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s more affordable than most people realize, especially when you use our money-saving tips (coming up next). 

We’ve crunched the numbers for car insurance in Washington so you can get a better idea of what you can expect to pay:

  • The average cost of full coverage is $87 per month for those with a clean driving record, or $139 per month for those with a DUI
  • The average cost of minimum coverage is $47 per month
  • Drivers aged 22-29 pay an average of $114 per month, while 30 and on pay an average of $87 per month

Where you live also factors into your car insurance costs. Here are some average rates by cities in Washington:

  • Drivers in Kent pay $1,282 per year on average
  • Those in Seattle pay $1,271
  • Tacoma sees $1,244 
  • Spokane drops to $975 per year

There are many factors that determine your car insurance costs, from age and gender to car make and model, driver history, insurance claim history, zip code, and more. Each insurance provider uses their own formula for determining rates, which is why you could see three very different quotes from three different providers.

But you don’t have to guess what you will pay. Just click here for access to free quotes, so you can better budget for car insurance. 

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How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in Washington

No one wants to overpay on car insurance. In fact, it’s painful forking over any money for car insurance at all. But while the fact that you need car insurance isn’t going away, we can help you find savings on your rates so that it’s a little more manageable on the budget. 

Here are some of our best tips for finding cheap auto insurance in Washington: 

  • Get Multiple Quotes: You should aim for at least three quotes from different providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Compare these quotes for coverage, cost, discounts, customer service from the provider, and more.
  • Ask for Discounts: Speaking of, you should be actively seeking out discounts on your car insurance. Most providers offer some form of discounts, and although they vary by provider, you’re likely to qualify for at least one. Common discounts include:
  • Review Your Coverage: Make sure you’re not paying for extra coverage you don’t need. We’re not suggesting removing coverage for the sake of paying less, but if something has changed since you took out the policy, such as a teen driver going away to college that can be removed, you should be on top of it. 
  • Increase Your Deductible: Use this one carefully, but increasing your deductible will lower your premiums. After all, it makes insurers happy because they know you’ll have to fork over a tidy sum to get a claim paid, so you won’t submit claims lightly. Be sure the amount of your deductible is still something you can afford to pay out of the blue if something happens to your vehicle.
  • Drive Safely: This is the very best thing you can do for your premiums. Driving safely and keeping a clean record will keep your premiums down in the long run. Find out more here
  • Maintain Coverage: You might think you can save money by canceling auto insurance for months you don’t need, but a lapse in coverage can end up costing you more. It’s a red flag to insurers, which may cause them to charge more to cover that risk. Maintaining continuous coverage is better for saving money.

Saving money on car insurance is more than possible, no matter where you live. Now, all that’s left to do is find Washington auto insurance quotes that fit the bill (we’ve got you covered). 

But first, we know that life is expensive. Especially life as a new parent. If that’s you, go ahead and grab our financial guide for new parents to help you navigate this exciting, but costly, time of life. 

Get Washington Auto Insurance Quotes Now

Ready to save? It’s time to start gathering quotes, but first you want to have the following info handy to speed up the quoting process:

  • Your name, address, and drivers license
  • Your vehicle make and model (ideally the VIN)
  • Your previous insurance
  • Your average mileage

Make sure to gather at least three quotes. If you’re short on time, we’ve made it easy for you: just click here for access to free quotes fast, and you’ll be on the road to great car insurance in Washington.

When it matters, we’ve got you covered.

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